Becoming a Business Analyst

Author: Geri Schneider Winters

Many people contact me because they want to be a Business Analyst. They are often in another job currently and want to change roles. They want to know “What do I need to do to be considered for a Business Analyst position?”.

A good starting point is to look over the IIBA BABOK to see how the BA role is defined. What is a BA? What does a BA do? What skills is a BA expected to have?

Then review your own experience, compare it to the skills in the BABOK and make an inventory of the work you have done that is also Business Analyst work. Have you elicited requirements, managed information, facilitated meetings, or used tools such as requirements management, version control, or UML modeling tools? Do you analyze information in your current position?

You will use this information to tune your resume, highlighting your experience that is applicable to a Business Analyst role.

You will also use this information to find gaps in your knowledge. What are some basic skills you need that you may not have gained from experience?

You can study books and online material for the information you lack. A better idea is to take a course for Business Analysts with a teacher experienced in the BA role.  Not only will you gain the knowledge, but the teacher will give you work to do and evaluate that work, so you gain some experience as well.

Finally, look at the IIBA certifications for CCBA and CBAP. You may find that you qualify for one of those certifications. Completing the certification process shows you have a certain level of knowledge and experience as a BA, and shows that you are serious about your career.

 

 

Certifications

A new year, and new resolutions. Do yours include getting professional certification this year?

Professional certification can be good in some situations:

Intermediate level people can benefit by showing employers they have attained a certain knowledge level. Also, preparing for the certification test helps a person determine areas where they are weak in knowledge, thus giving them the opportunity to improve in that area.

Some companies require certification for the job. In this case, an employer may pay for any needed training and the cost of acquiring certification. You may find you have to acquire certification before applying for a particular job.

Certification is an indication that you are serious about your profession. You have experience and training. You have also committed to a standard of professional ethics and continuing education.

Keep in mind that if you do get professional certification, it is not forever. Many certifications are good for 3 years. To keep your certification, you have to continue to work in that subject area, and you will have continuing education requirements. These typically include things such as taking classes, teaching classes, attending conferences, and writing papers.

Here are some certifications I know of that may be of interest to you:

Business Analyst
http://www.iiba.com

Certified Software Engineering Professional
http://www.computer.org/portal/pages/ieeecs/education/certification

Unified Modeling Language
http://www.uml.org

Rational Certified Professional a variety of subjects and tools, such as Object Oriented Analysis and Design or Requirements Management
http://www-306.ibm.com/software/rational/

Software Architect
http://www.opengroup.org/itac
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/mcp/architect/default.mspx

Project Manager
http://www.pmi.org/info/PDC_CertificationsOverview.asp

Most certifications are designed for specialists. If you are a generalist, you may find it difficult to impossible to get some certifications. In that case, you will be looking more at certifications such as IEEE Certified Software Engineering Professional, which covers a broad range of topics.

I hope your new year is off to a great start. I’m taking care of a bunch of little things here at the beginning of the year – finishing up a bunch of small tasks that really needed to get done. The rest of the month is plenty busy with 2 contracts and a seminar between now and the end of the month!

Drop me a note or comment on a post to let me know what things I can help you with this year. What kinds of tools or information do you need to be more successful in your job?

Geri